Step-by-Step Jewelry Making Instructions for Making Chain Using Jewelry Wire and WigJig Jewelry Tools:
Step 1: Using your nylon jaw pliers, straighten a segment of 20 gauge jewelry wire that is over 2 1/4 inches long. Soft jewelry wire will work, but half-hard jewelry wire would work better. To make a chain that is 18 inches long you will need 36 segments of jewelry wire (about 7 feet of wire total.
Step 2: Using your flush cutter cut the straightened segment of jewelry wire to a length of 2 1/4 inch.
Step 3: Using your Fine Step Jaw Pliers, make a partial loop in the sharp end of the jewelry wire. This is one of the few times where you make a loop with a gap in it and you use the sharp end of the wire. See the picture below-left. The reason you use the sharp end of the wire and only make a partial loop is that this loop is what we call a sacrificial loop and will be cut off the finished jewelry wire component.
Step 4: Select your WigJig jewelry tool and position five regular pegs in your jewelry makign jig as shown below-left. We used the WigJig Delphi or Centaur jewelry tool for this project because the smaller pegs and closer spaced holes made links in the chain which were smaller and more delicate. You can use the WigJig Olympus or Olympus Lite jewelry tool, but the resulting chain would end up being larger.
Step 5: Place the loop in the 2 1/4 segment of jewelry wire on peg 1 in the pattern on your jewelry making jig, orientated as shown below-right.
Step 6: With the tip of your index finger on your dominant hand, push the jewelry wire up and against peg 3 as shown below-left. Many people will find it easier to leave the jewelry wire in the best position by removing peg 3 and pushing the wire beyond peg 3 and then letting it relax back into the position shown.
Step 7: Push the jewelry wire around peg 3 in the pattern on your WigJig jewelry tool as shown below-center.
Step 8: Lift the jewelry wire so that it can pass between peg 2 and peg 4 and then push the wire until it rests against peg 5 on your jewelry making jig as shown below-right. You can remove peg 5 as described for peg 3 in step 6.
Step 9: Push the jewelry wire around peg 5 as shown below-left.
Step 10: Push the jewelry wire between peg 4 and peg 2 in the pattern on your WigJig jewelry tool as shown below-left.
Step 11: To help make your jewelry wire component as consistently as possible, use your chain nose or bent chain nose pliers to squeeze the wire as shown below-right. Squeeze both ends as shown. Your goal is that the wire should be straight and resting tightly against pegs 2 through 5.
Step 12: Now, before removing the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool, remove peg 1 and lift the initial loop until it is vertical. See the picture below-left. By performing this step before removing the jewelry wire from the jewelry making jig, you are helping to make the link as consistently as possible.
Step 13: Remove the jewelry wire from the WigJig jewelry tool and the jewelry wire component should appear as shown below-center.
Step 14: Connect the jewelry wire component to the previous link in the chain. If this is the first link in your chain, you can connect the jewelry wire component to your clasp or catch.
Step 15: After you have connected one end of your jewelry wire component to the prior link in the chain you are ready to wrap that link closed. First, grasp the jewelry wire component with your bent chain nose pliers as shown below-left.
Step 16: While holding the link firmly in your pliers, push the jewelry wire around 180 degrees as shown below-center. At this point you do not need to push the wire down flat, we will cut the end of the wire off before we push the wire down to its final position. Please note that having the jewelry wire raised slightly will make it easier to cut in a later step.
Step 17: Now we are ready to wrap the second end of the link closed. First, grasp the jewelry wire component with your chain nose pliers as shown below-right.
Step 18: Since we initially bent this end of the jewelry wire component up in Step 12, we only need to push the end of the wire about 90 degrees. Again, don't push the wire all the way flat. You want the wire raised slightly so that it will be easier to cut in Step 19.
Step 19: Using your flush cutter, cut the excess jewelry wire from both ends. Please note that if you cut the end of the wire and leave too much wire on your wire component, that the cut end of the wire will stick out and will feel sharp to the wearer. Cut the wire so that after bending the wire flat, the end of the wire does not extend beyond the edge of the overall wire component. This is a case where cutting a little shorter might be better.
Step 20: At this point we are ready to bend the cut ends of the jewelry wire down flat on both sides of your wire component. See the picture below-left for how the wire component should appear after the ends have been flattened. In order to push the cut end of the wire flat, first grasp that end of the link with your bent chain nose pliers as shown in Step 15 or 17 above, then with a second pair of chain nose pliers push and squeeze the end of the wire until it is flat. When done properly, the link should feel smooth with neither wire end sticking out.
Step 21: When you have completed your 36 links of chain and are ready to attach the final catch or clasp, you will need to modify the approach on the final link described in Step 16 above. Instead of wrapping that link closed, you will need to attach your catch or clasp before wrapping that last link closed. With the wire in the position shown for step 16 above connect the clasp or catch as shown below-right, then wrap the last link closed.
Step 22: You can view our completed Commercial Chain made out of 20 gauge copper jewelry wire at right. You can use this chain as is. You can add beads to the chain. You can add a gemstone pendant, or you can use 3 or 4 links of this chain to make an earring. If you decide to make an earring out of several links of this chain, connect a bead dangle to the bottom of each length of chain, with a relatively large bead (8mm or larger).
Summary of jewelry making project made using WigJig jewelry tools:
We hope you like this project. We love hearing, "It looks like it was made by a machine." It may seem funny, but we really try to make our jewelry project look like they were made by machines. That way we know we were consistent. The reason for using our WigJig tools is to make consistent jewelry wire components and by being consistent allowing the jewelry crafter to make jewelry quicker.